UW Has First-Round NCAA Clash with Nebraska
Nov. 11, 2003
Merlo Field / Portland, Ore.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14 --
Washington vs. Nebraska, 11:00 a.m. PST (1st Round)
Portland (#8 seed) vs. Denver, 1:00 p.m. PST (1st Round)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16 --
UW or Nebraska vs. Portland or Denver, 1:00 p.m. PST (2nd Round)
The 25th-ranked Washington women's soccer team (11-6-3) returns to postseason play after a one-year absence and will meet Nebraska (12-7-1) Friday, Nov. 14 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Kick-off is 11 a.m. at Merlo Field in Portland, Ore. where the host Pilots (16-3-1), the tournament's No. 8 seed, play Denver (18-3) at 1 p.m. in the second half of Friday's doubleheader. The first-round winners clash in Portland on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the round of 16. The Huskies received their seventh all-time Tournament invitation, all of them coming during Coach Lesle Gallimore's 10 seasons. Washington concluded the regular season Sunday in Seattle with a 3-0 triumph over Arizona. That pushed the victory total to 11, the sixth-highest number of wins in UW history.
Tickets are on sale now for the first-round NCAA Tournament games at Portland's Merlo Field. Ticket prices are $10 for stadium reserved seats, $8 for benchback reserved seats, $7 for general admission and $5 for student general admission. To purchase tickets, call the Pilot Box Office (503-943-7525) or TicketsWest (800-992-8499). One ticket for Friday's doubleheader is good for both games.
Washington finished fifth in the Pacific-10 Conference standings for the second straight season, posting a 4-4-1 record. The Cornhuskers placed fourth in the Big 12 with a 6-4 mark. Nebraska is one of eight NCAA Tournament teams from the Big 12. The Pac-10 produced five postseason teams as Washington is joined by No. 4 seed UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and USC.
Washington has a 4-5-1 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2000. The Huskies' last appearance was in 2001 when they defeated San Diego 2-0 in the first round before losing 2-0 to host Portland. In the second round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament, the Huskies tied 0-0 at Stanford, but the Cardinal advanced on the strength of a 6-5 edge during the penalty-kick tie-breaker.
Scouting Nebraska (12-7-1)
Tenth-year coach John Walker's Cornhuskers are making their eighth straight postseason appearance, including a current string of seven consecutive Sweet 16 berths. Nebraska is led by the eight goals of Jessie Bruch. Jenna Cooper is the top playmaker with 13 assists. Goalkeeper Brooke Bredenberg has two shutouts and a 1.39 goals against average. Washington is the first Pac-10 opponent this season for Nebraska. The Huskies and Cornhuskers met only once before in women's soccer, at a regular-season tournament in Portland, Ore. UW posted a 5-1 victory on Sept. 17, 1995. The teams were scheduled to meet at the annual Portland tournament on Sept. 14, 2001, but that game was canceled due to the national tragedy on Sept. 11.
This looks familiar. If Washington gets by the Cornhuskers, a potential second-round matchup looms with Northwest nemesis Portland. The Pilots eliminated UW from the NCAA Tournament four times (1995, 1996, 2000, 2001), three of them by 1-0 scores. Portland edged the Huskies 1-0 this year in Seattle on Sept. 26 to increase its lead in the all-time series to 15-1-1. The lone Washington victory over the Pilots was a 2-1 decision in 2000 at Merlo Field.
Referred to as the 'College Cup,' the NCAA women's soccer tournament is a single-elimination playoff that features a 64-team field. The NCAA Tournament format calls for first-round games to be played Friday, November 14, at campus sites with second-round contests scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 16 at the same campus sites. Third-round games will be played on campus sites November 21, 22 or 23, as will quarterfinal matches on November 28, 29 or 30.The semifinals and 22nd-annual championship game are scheduled for Dec. 5 and 7 at State Capital Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Huskies played 10 games this season against opponents from the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, registering a 3-5-2 record. Two of those defeats were overtime setbacks against No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 4 UCLA ... The top 16 tournament teams were seeded into the pairings. The other seeded squads in Washington's bracket are No. 9 Santa Clara, a potential round of 16 opponent, along with No. 1 North Carolina and No. 16 Illinois ... Four of UW's six losses and one tie came against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
Coach's Comments (Lesle Gallimore)
'I'm not surprised at where we are going. I thought if Portland was a seeded team that we would go there. It's pretty standard. Hopefully we will continue to do the things that we did well to get here.'
On Nebraska -- 'For our kids, it's fun to see a team from outside our region. The first round is exciting to go in fresh, playing a team that you haven't already seen. Nebraska has had a good season, but like us they haven't done anything spectacular that has gotten them seeded. They are a very direct team and a tough team to play. John Walker is a terrific coach. They play a unique style that we don't see very often playing in our region.'
On Portland -- UW Coach Lesle Gallimore is not upset by the prospect of another postseason pairing with perennial national power Portland. The defending national champion Pilots advanced to the Final Four in each of the last three seasons.'If you are going to win the NCAA championship you are going to have to do it beating good teams at some point in time. Obviously we have a great rivalry with Portland. But we have played this game too many times to look ahead at all. Just trying to get past Nebraska is going to be tough. Portland's got to get by a good Denver team that beat them earlier in the year.'
Washington's dynamic defense is yielding just 0.85 goals per game, down significantly from last season's final mark of 1.47. UW has eight shutouts, five more than last year's entire season total. The Huskies surrendered more than one goal just four times this season, versus North Carolina, UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford.
Junior Tina Frimpong scored two goals Nov. 2 at Cal for the eighth multiple-goal game of her career. She leads the Pac-10 with 13 goals, the second-highest single-season total in school history. Current UW assistant coach Tami Bennett established the school record with 16 goals during the 2000 season. Frimpong is tied for second among all-time Huskies with 27 career goals. The school record of 34 is held by Bennett (1997-200). Frimpong is tied in the No. 2 spot with Tara Bilanski (1992-95) and Theresa Wagner (1997-2000).
Washington's most dangerous offensive threat is speedy junior Tina Frimpong who leads the Pac-10 in goals (13) and is second in total points (30). She boasts a career-best 13 goals this season after recording seven in each of her first two collegiate campaigns. Frimpong was twice named Pac-10 Player of the Week this season, on Sept. 1 and Sept. 23. Frimpong played with the Seattle Sounders Select team this summer, leading them to the W-League semifinals. She amassed eight goals in six games. Her sister, Crystal, is a senior starter at Florida who led the Gators in 2002 with six goals. Tina is a year behind her sister in school because she did not play in 2000 while she was pregnant with daughter MacKenzie who was born on March 8, 2001. Despite being out of competitive soccer for over 18 months, Frimpong returned to lead UW in 2001 with seven goals and ranked third among UW scorers last season with seven goals. A product of Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver, Wash., Frimpong initially signed a letter of intent with Santa Clara. Before attending classes, she decided to enroll at Washington beginning in the fall of 2000.
Senior forward Melissa Bennett has proven to be the finest playmaker in school history, having distributed a team-high eight assists in 2003. On Oct. 19 against Oregon, she registered her 28th career assist to claim the school record. She now has 29 assists. The previous UW record of 27 was held by Caroline Putz (1998-2001). Bennett ranked second nationally last season with 18 assists, eclipsing the UW season record of 12. A second-team All-Pac-10 pick, Bennett also led the league with 34 total points in 2002. Bennett is also extremely adept at scoring goals. She tied for the team lead with eight goals in 2002. Bennett amassed a Washington state prep record with 166 goals at Seattle Christian High School. Melissa broke the state's high school record of 152 goals previously held by her sister Tami Bennett, a 2000 UW grad now in her first year on the Husky coaching staff. Melissa ranks fifth among all-time UW attackers with 65 total points. Her sister Tami ranks second on that list after compiling 78 points between 1997-2000.
The Coaching Staff
Tenth-year coach Lesle Gallimore posted her 100th Washington victory on Oct. 13, 2002 at Oregon State. The 2000 Pac-10 Coach of the Year led UW to the NCAA Tournament in seven of her 10 seasons at UW. Last year she guided UW to a 9-8-3 record and a fifth-place Pac-10 finish (4-4-1). Gallimore was named the 2000 National Coach of the Year by Soccer Buzz after her Huskies posted an 18-3 record, won their first Pac-10 title, received the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time. Gallimore has a 14-year record of 145-98-22, including a 113-73-13 mark in nine seasons at UW. Prior to coaching the Huskies, Gallimore compiled a 32-25-9 record in four seasons at San Diego State. Gallimore's staff includes eighth-year assistant coach Amy Griffin (previously Allmann), a goalkeeper with the 1991 U.S. World Cup championship team who previously was the head coach at New Mexico. Tami Bennett joins the staff this season after two seasons as an assistant at Portland State. Bennett, whose sister Melissa is a senior on the UW squad, concluded her collegiate career in 2000 as Washington's all-time scoring leader with 34 goals. Also on the staff is volunteer coach Erin Otagaki, a four-year letterwinner at UW from 1998-2001.
Washington dropped one spot to 25th in this week's Soccer America rankings. Impressive opening-weekend results vaulted the Huskies into the national polls on Sept. 1 after they did not receive any preseason ranking recognition.
Washington encountered a difficult schedule that included six opponents ranked in the current top 25, including three of the nation's top four teams. UW's ranked opponents are: No. 1 North Carolina, UCLA (2), Portland (4), Arizona State (14), Maryland (22) and Connecticut (23). Ten teams from the 2003 NCAA Tournament field were on the Huskies' schedule, including No. 1 seed North Carolina, No. 4 UCLA and No. 8 Portland, the defending national champion.
So Long Solo
The most decorated player in Husky history, goalkeeper Hope Solo, moved on to guard the nets for the Philadelphia Charge. A senior in 2002, Solo was the fourth overall selection in January's WUSA Draft. She left Washington as the school's leader in nearly every goalkeeping category, including career saves (325), shutouts (18) and goals against average (1.02) along with single-season goals against average (0.68 in 2001). The 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Solo was one of 13 finalists for the national Player of the Year in each of her final two seasons.
Scouting Denver (18-3)
Coach Jeff Hooker guided the Pioneers to their third straight Sun Belt Conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth. Denver won its last three games, and seven of its last eight. Jenni Harris amassed 17 goals, six assists and six game-winning goals to lead the DU offense that has outscored opponents by a lopsided 58-18 margin. Goalkeeper Danielle Wiley has registered 11 shutouts and a 0.72 goals against average. The Pioneers won the only previous meeting with Washington, a 1-0 decision on Sept. 13, 2002 at Portland's regular-season tourney.
Scouting Portland (16-3-1)
The fourth-ranked Pilots are the defending national champions and have advanced to the semifinals during each of the last three seasons. Longtime coach Clive Charles, who directed the Pilots to a 226-52-13 record in 14 seasons, passed away on Aug. 26 due to cancer. He directed Portland to the 2002 NCAA title. Lindsey Huie leads the Pilot attack with 11 goals, including four game-winners. Goalkeeper Cori Alexander has 10 shutouts and a 0.61 goals against average.
Portland owns a 15-1-1 advantage in the all-time series with Washington that began with a 1-1 tie in 1991. The Northwest rivals met four times in the postseason (1995, 1996, 2000, 2001) with the Pilots winning all four times. Portland won this year's regular-season matchup on Sept. 26 in Seattle by a 1-0 count. Wanda Rozwadowska netted a 33rd-minute goal for the game-winner. Washington's lone win in the series was a 2-1 decision on Sept. 23, 2000 at Merlo Field that snapped a 10-game losing streak against UP. The Huskies have a 1-8 record against the Pilots in Portland, including three 1-0 setbacks during NCAA Tournament play.
Home Sweet Home
For the seventh year, all Washington home games were played on campus at 2,100-seat Husky Soccer Field. The facility is located north of Husky Stadium on the southeast corner of the Montlake Boulevard parking lot. Lights were installed before the 2000 season. The Huskies have a 41-20-3 all-time record at Husky Soccer Field with a 33-11-2 ledger since 1999. They were 8-4 this season in Seattle and averaged 1,226 spectators. Washington ranked among the nation's top-10 attendance leaders every year since moving to the present venue in 1997.
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